Real Estate Spam

You've Got Spam

If your email inbox is anything like mine, then you’ve got spam. A lot of spam. The unwanted messages are even spilling over into other communications platforms, but email is by far the worst.

Sadly, us real estate agents contribute to the deluge in a big way.

Agent-to-consumer spam has been a problem for a while now. I remember the push from corporate to collect email addresses of all clients and open house visitors as far back as 2009. They wanted us to enter everyone’s email in their database and put them on “drip campaigns.” No thanks.

Automated emails with worthless content (Happy Flag Day!) sent only to remind you I exist are apparently effective at capturing attention. But I don’t want to be the annoying guy who is always popping up yet not providing any value.

A recent “innovation” to arrive in my inbox is the agent update e-newsletter. Multiple companies allow agents to send branded emails with real estate related articles. Each month I get three copies of the same content, though it is branded with different agents. Presumably buyers who are actively looking for a home see the overlap too.

This is a step in the right direction compared to traditional drip campaigns. There is at least an attempt to offer the recipient useful information related to real estate. At the same time, the agent doesn’t include any of their thoughts, commentary, or personality. Everything is written by a 3rd party for a national audience, and therefore can only speak to certain issues.

The one recurring email that I do send out is property matches from the MLS. Because it is delivered daily, I can imagine some buyer clients feeling like it is spam too, and I struggle with that. The market moves quickly, so getting listings that match their specific criteria out to clients right away is helpful. But at the same time, I don’t want them to feel like I’m spamming them.

The latest development in spamming, which I really dislike, is the agent-to-agent spam. More and more agents have taken to sending out blast emails to other agents advertising their listings and open houses. Most of them are automatically put in my spam folder, so I don’t even see them. But a few make it through to my inbox each day.

All of these properties are in the MLS database, so if it’s a good home for one of my buyer clients, then it will show up in the appropriate client’s search results. In that sense the effort is redundant, unless you believe there are agents who read their email closely but don’t follow the MLS.

What drives me nuts with the agent-to-agent spam is the lack of relevance. I get an amazing number of messages about properties in other parts of Connecticut. Sorry, your open house two counties away is not interesting to me – delete.

Spamming probably helps agents sign up clients, but I highly doubt that it is an effective technique for selling listings. And even the effectiveness in attracting clients is likely to wane as an increasing number of agents send out messages more and more frequently. At some point it will turn into a negative – at least I hope it will.

If I’m going to send you an email (or message on some other platform), then I’m going to make an effort to ensure it is relevant to you. I might not always hit the mark, but that will be my goal.

You can trust me with your email address. 🙂